Residence Life is the backbone of the typical college experience; would it even be college if it weren’t for the notorious messy roommates and infamous quiet hours that come along with community living? DSU Residence Life strives to create a safe, inclusive, and memorable college experience for students. To build a team of energetic and ambitious staff members with the same goal, DSU Residence Life hires people from all over the country. Early in August of 2018, DSU ResLife offered Madison Bauer, a native of Portland, OR, the position of Resident Director of Emry Hall and Program Development Associate. “When I graduated from Oregon State University last year, I knew I was ready for the unknown,” Bauer shared, “I knew when I applied to work at DSU, if they offered me the position, it was meant to be and the universe has some purpose for me that I didn’t know yet.” After serving for a year in her position at DSU, Bauer is returning to her home in Oregon, but the time she had and the relationships she built at DSU will stay with her even as she moves 3 states away.
When Bauer came to Madison to interview in July of 2018, she was shocked by the contrast between South Dakota and her home on the West Coast. “I was flabbergasted by how flat the land is here!” she expressed, “But the biggest difference I’ve experienced is that this school seems to be very conservative. OSU (and the Willamette Valley in general) is very, very liberal so coming here was a culture shock for me that I had a hard time adjusting to.” She was also surprised by the “Midwestern Nice” demonstrated to her in her first few weeks here: Residence Life staff was so welcoming, people would recognize her as new-in-town when she went to Sunshine, and drivers waved at her from behind the wheel (that isn’t a thing anywhere else, apparently).
After settling into her position at DSU, Bauer devoted herself to serving the students and community of DSU. She serves as Resident Director of around 135 residents in Emry Hall. Some of the projects she has worked on are reviewing, revising, and building upon the FYRE (First Year Residence Experience) program, creating curriculum, and revising outcomes and goals for DSU ResLife. Even though a lot of her work is behind-the-scenes, Bauer values direct contact with students. “My proudest accomplishment at DSU has been the small interactions with students that seem to have stuck.” She continued, “Those small moments mean the most because it shows I truly affected someone’s life.”
When Bauer is not busy with directing and developing for DSU ResLife, she embraces the simple joys the town of Madison has to offer. “Sometimes I need a chance to breathe and center myself, especially after intense on-call responses,” said Bauer, “I love to pick up a sandwich from One Stop and drive over to Lake Herman to eat. It’s really calming, and it’s also the closest thing to an ocean around here.”
When her time at DSU concludes, she will go back to a place where the real ocean is only an hour away. “I’m so happy to be returning to my roots,” she exclaimed, “I’m excited to be reunited with my family and friends, my pets at home, the smell of the fir trees, the rain, and most importantly the ocean. I miss the ocean like no other.” On May 21, she will be returning to Portland with Murray, the cat she adopted from Sioux Falls. Dakota State University, and DSU Residence Life, in particular, will miss her dearly and forever be grateful for the work she has done and the impact she has had on the community of DSU.